My day can begin at ’silly o clock’ if I have to be in our offices at Canary Wharf or visiting customers. I’m a Yorkshire girl born and bred and love living ’up North’ although I do get my leg pulled for the way that I pronounce ’latte’ and ’scone’ and the fact that we have tea and not dinner. But I’m proud of my roots and the heritage of our ’straight talking no-nonsense approach’.
Living in Sheffield, I’m ideally placed for getting around much of the UK and for managing the northern sales team for Valero. But with head office being a 350-mile round trip and many national accounts being southern based, my day can start quite early. The scary part though is that I don’t always apply my entire make-up until I reach my destination. So when I stop to get a coffee and croissant en route, the sales assistants at the services can get quite a shock!
What I love about my role is that every day is different and throws up new and interesting challenges. I could be discussing fuel supply deals with our larger groups such as MRH or the Co-operative Group, or planning an entertaining event, dealing with a distribution problem or looking at new ways of promoting our company to prospective dealers.
Certainly at Valero we don’t have meetings for meeting’s sake, so that helps. And it means that I am able to get out and see more customers or spend time with the team discussing new business opportunities. We, as a company, are very focused on sales growth and have had a very successful 2013 agreeing terms with 100 new sites. However, that doesn’t mean to say we neglect our existing customers. I am often involved in discussions about issues that retailers have, rolling out our new technology, improving our operations or presenting at various trade events or sales meetings.
The best part of the job is when a customer agrees to join our company and change to the Texaco brand. I get a real buzz and I know that all the hard work is worth it. Although as we say ’it’s never done until it’s done’ again that straight talking as bringing a site on board takes some management. But when the branding is up and they are pumping fuel, then I am immensely proud of all the team effort that has gone into it. I manage a great sales team, all with differing skills and personalities and all dedicated to the job. Coupled with the support of colleagues in our Canary Wharf head office, we are making a difference in the marketplace.
When you are in this business, you are in it for life and I can’t imagine working anywhere else or in any other industry.
It’s the people who make it all worthwhile and there are characters all along the way even those who are no longer with us. I love reciting stories of the things that have happened in the past at various events and conferences.
So back to my day. I spend quite a lot of the time travelling and tend to speak to all my area managers when I am pounding the miles. Some days I can get back quite late. Like any working mum this can be a challenge, as I often want to get in and put my feet up but I am welcomed by a booming shout of ’mummy’ and so my other job begins. I have two children, Gabrielle and Max. My children make everything I do so worthwhile and I love being able to indulge them at the weekend. Gabrielle plays hockey now, so most of my spare time is taken up with watching her play.
I work from home when I’m not out and about, which is great, although there are times when you can’t leave the PC or Blackberry alone, but I guess that’s working life. There are very few nine-to-five jobs any more and, as we are in a 24-hour business, we have to be available at all times.
Not a lot of people know this but I was a police officer in Sheffield after I graduated.
I left after two years. It wasn’t for me, but it certainly gave me some valuable training in dealing with difficult situations, perseverance and tenacity.
Name: Adele Shackleton Company: Valero Energy
Job title: Regional manager retail North
Career history: Worked for Kenning Car and Van Hire as a national account manager. Joined Texaco in 2000 as a national account manager in the tenant market, before moving into the dealer market when we sold our company-owned, company-operated chain
Greatest achievement: my two children, but I also feel very proud of being a woman in a very male-dominated industry
Tips for business success: Be yourself, people sell people
Most likely to say: "You can’t sell it if it’s not under-ground"
Least likely to say: "I have regrets"
Other interests: theatre, and spending time with the kids